Although I’m a happy ending kind of a person (both as a reader and as a writer), when a book is well written, and a less than happy ending fits the book, I’ll roll with it. I’ll even feel aggrieved if the author sticks on a happy ending that doesn’t chime with the rest of the book. I’d rather have the truth. Therefore when I pick up a book from the Bell Collection, I brace myself, knowing that it won’t be an easy ride, but expect to find it a rewarding read.
Multiple Voices, Effectively Executed
The Book was no exception. Slim but ambitious, it’s written in different formats and voices – a two-handed journal, a first-person narrative by a little girl, and transcripts of interviews by a child psychologist.
Writing in the voice of a four to five year old is a tough act to pull off, but Bell does it effectively, using age-appropriate sentence structure and vocabulary to convey Bonnie’s voice and world view. Only occasionally does she throw in a few childish words, which in my view weren’t really necessary and were a mild distraction.
Moving Portrait of Troubled Relationships
The strained relationships between all the characters are sensitively portrayed, and the whole story combines to provide a digestible parable of the how to deal with those you love, whether adult or child, lover or parent.
The book’s short length is just right for its subject matter and theme, and I loved the physical format of the book too (a small paperback). Great interior design leaves you always sure of who is talking when.
Tough but Rewarding
In short, an ambitious project, deftly executed, and satisfying in Jessica Bell’s characteristic harsh-but-from-the-heart way.
To find out more about the Bell Collection, visit Jessica Bell’s author website: www.jessicabellauthor.com